Microsoft Exec Slams Report of Zune Death

Microsoft has not issued any information on the purported demise of the hardware version of the Zune music player, according to a blog post attributed to Dave McLauchlan, a Microsoft program manager.

An article by Bloomberg published on Monday said that Microsoft would stop releasing new Zune hardware models, but it cited an unnamed source for that information. McLauchlan, who says that he manages Zune hardware business development, affirmed that he still has that job. He implied that the Bloomberg story should be viewed with skepticism, without debunking the story's claims.

"To be 100 percent clear -- NO information about our future plans, no matter what the incarnation, has been shared," McLauchlan purportedly wrote.

The last new device, the Zune HD, was delivered to stores on Sept. 15, 2009, according to a Microsoft press announcement. Near that same time, Microsoft announced that Zune software would be available for PCs, Xbox Live and Windows Phone 7 devices. The Bloomberg article claims that Microsoft has its Zune teams split into hardware and software groups, with the split occurring sometime in 2009.

McLauchlan implied that Microsoft considers Windows phones to be a hardware release of the Zune.

"We were completely frank about this year's Zune hardware being the WP7 phones, and we continue to both sell and fully support the Zune HD line of products," the blog states. "And as I've promised -- we continue to bring new apps and games to the platform. More of those are in the works, I promise you."

Microsoft's press support did not respond to an inquiry sent on Tuesday about Zune hardware plans. However, it did release a statement to Bloomberg stating that it had nothing to announce about another Zune device and that "our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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Reader Comments:

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 Ronnie Florida

I have a five Zune household (My wife and I both have 30GB Zunes when they were first released), my wife has a 8GB, I have a 120GB and 32GB Zune HD. I love the Zune software, we have two Zune Pass subscriptions, I use Zune Pass on my Zunes, three PCs, Xbox 360 and Samsung Focus. My father in law uses my wife's Zune Pass on his HTC Surround. The thought of Zune devices going away sickens my stomach. I have no interest whatsoever in subjecting myself to the Apple ecosystem. The millions upon millions of people who claim to love it doesn't convince me to change my mind. Samsung is making a Galaxy Player, using Android on a non-phone media player/app device ... Microsoft needs to suck it up and throw their hat in the ring. They completely blew their first shot with the Zune. Now that they have a chance to make the whole thing work, it would be foolish to abandon it. WP7 is superior to everything out there ... they need to capitalize on that simple fact and bring it to the Zune brand. And for God's sake, they need to shove it down everybody's throat and beat it into the world's head that WP7 as an OS and the ecosystem they are building upon it is better than Android and iOS.

Mon, Mar 21, 2011 BobbyLarry

I love my Zune HD. I am a Verizon Wireless customer so I do not have a Windows 7 phone. It would have been nice to be able to purchase the Windows 7 phone apps for my zune hd. To add insult to injury, the Zune pc software opens by default to the Windows phone 7 marketplace. So while there are 1,000 apps there, the zune hd tab has like 30. MS, why couldnt you find a way to make the apps compatible with the Zune HD? J3rks.

Thu, Mar 17, 2011 Josh

Zune beets any other iPod type device out there in both sound quality and the ease of use. I think with a more developed app market for Zune and Windows Phone 7 they could really give Apple a run for their money.

Thu, Mar 17, 2011 Jorge Rodriguez San Juan, PR

I have a 120GB Zune, and this is my second one because I am convinced its sound quality and general product reliability is superior compared to the iPod. Also, Zune software is more intuitive. I'm still a fan of Zune! Hope it will continue in the market.

Wed, Mar 16, 2011 Shane Nokes Seattle

I sleep with my Zune every night! It is my light and my life. I spend my life defending it online, even if it has 3% market share. They can't take my life away from me.

Wed, Mar 16, 2011 Tom

Well for purposes of clarity the apparent statement was made by 'a person familiar with the decision' which doesn't say much as to its credibility. But other news outlets were quick to cite the article and claim things like 'zune is dead' which I'm sure did wonders for any would-be sales. Zune HD is a great device but unfortunately the lack of a 3rd party marketplace to sell apps in my opinion contributed quite a bit to its less than stellar sales. People ask me if they should still buy the Zune HD since it may be going away, and my response is 'Sure why not? What diff does it make?' It's a great device, plays music, syncs with Zune sw etc (unless the purpose is for apps). Even if the sales were sched to stop tomorrow, I would pick up a Zune today.

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